Stroke survivor Elwood Kirkpatrick of Red Deer goes through a dexterity exercise with Jolene Boutin

Stroke Action Plan gets quick results

Thanks to Alberta’s recently-launched Stroke Action Plan, Elwood Kirkpatrick of Red Deer spent only five days in the hospital following a stroke on Nov. 20.

Thanks to Alberta’s recently-launched Stroke Action Plan, Elwood Kirkpatrick of Red Deer spent only five days in the hospital following a stroke on Nov. 20.

He went on to receive his rehabilitation therapy in the comfort of his own home.

“It was lovely being at home. I couldn’t sleep well in the hospital. The girls who came to work with me were exceptional,” Kirkpatrick, 77, said.

“I made so much progress within just a month and now I can walk on my own, go up and down steps. My speech is getting better and … thanks to the team’s encouragement and my wife, I feel more like my old self.”

The Stroke Action Plan aims to improve the quality of in-patient and community care for stroke survivors outside of Edmonton and Calgary.

The plan is ensuring already successful programs like Early Supported Discharge are now available in smaller urban sites and made more accessible for rural residents.

The early discharge program brings therapy into the home of those who have had strokes, like Kirkpatrick. It involves an in-home rehabilitation team of physiotherapists, occupational therapists, speech therapists, therapy assistants, nurses, recreational therapists and social workers. They each visit thoughout the week for a couple hours a day for six weeks.

This program has already reduced the average length of hospital stay by half for stroke patients in Edmonton and Calgary, where it was first piloted, says Alberta Health Services.

“Stroke units and early supported discharge services are very effective in reducing death, disability and the length of hospital stays so there’s a cost avoidance advantage as well as more hospital beds are freed up,” said Jeff Wright, an AHS occupational therapist and the Red Deer project leader.

The initiative is forecast to directly save $81,000 per year. That doesn’t take into account indirect savings, such as commutes and parking for patients, Wright added.

Red Deer was the first community selected to implement the Stroke Action Plan at the end of November. It has so far assisted 28 patients recover from strokes. The project is expected to roll out to Grande Prairie, Camrose, Lethbridge and Medicine Hat later this year.

Smaller centres such as Peace River, Brooks and Westlock will also receive enhancements of in-patient services for stroke patients, as well as improved stroke training and education as part of the plan.

“If the Stroke Action Plan program wasn’t here, those 28 patients would have either not received any rehab or they would have received rehab by coming into the out-patient department, where the availability of that service is very limited and they would only be able to come in a couple times a week,” Wright said. “The difference is in the intensity of the service and co-ordination as with this project you have a complete multidisciplinary team who has specialized expertise in stroke care.”

Kirkpatrick’s wife Betty said she is also extremely pleased with the program as the in-home rehabilitation saved them so much time and stress.

“They took care of arranging for the guard rails for the toilet and a walker and the chair for the bathtub. All we had to do was pick it up. It was easy,” she said. “And after a stroke, you don’t want to have to be walking across hospital parking lots for therapy sessions so this was much better for us.”

The Stroke Action Plan was developed by the Cardiovascular Health and Stroke Strategic Clinical Network, part of Alberta Health Services. The plan is one of nine projects being undertaken by various strategic clinical networks to improve patient experiences in Alberta and enhance standardized care delivery and outcomes.

rfrancoeur@bprda.wpengine.com

Just Posted

RCMP seek suspect in Rimbey armed robbery

Rimbey Liquor Store was robbed at gunpoint about 8:30 p.m. on Saturday

Rimbey RCMP searching for suspects in break and enter spree

Rimbey RCMP are looking for a pair of culprits behind five break… Continue reading

Stolen vehicle and gun seized in Blackfalds

Blackfalds man to appear in court

Blood moon over Red Deer

Moon captures attention

China grants Ivanka Trump 5 trademarks amid trade talks

SHANGHAI — The Chinese government has granted Ivanka Trump’s company preliminary approval… Continue reading

2-for-1: Total lunar eclipse comes with supermoon bonus

On Sunday night, the moon, Earth and sun lined up to create the eclipse, which was visible throughout North and South America

Faith in immigration must be preserved

Canada has a deserved reputation for extending its arms to newcomers, but… Continue reading

Olympian Adam van Koeverden wins federal Liberal nomination in Ontario riding

MILTON, Ont. — Former Olympic flag-bearer Adam van Koeverden will be carrying… Continue reading

World champion Osmond says it’s “really nice” not to know what future holds

SAINT JOHN, N.B. — Kaetlyn Osmond has a world title, Olympic medals… Continue reading

World economy forecast to slow in 2019 amid trade tensions

For Canada, the IMF’s estimate for growth in 2019 was 1.9 per cent, down from expected global growth of 3.5 per cent

Timberlake pops in on patients at Texas children’s hospital

DALLAS — Justin Timberlake has pulled some sunshine from his pocket for… Continue reading

UK police speak to Prince Philip about not wearing seatbelt

LONDON — British police have spoken with Prince Philip after the husband… Continue reading

‘Gotti’ leads Razzie nominations, Trump up for worst actor

The nominations were announced on Monday, Jan. 21 with some movies earning up to six nominations

Curtain rising Sunday night on total lunar eclipse

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — The celestial curtain will be rising soon on… Continue reading

Most Read